When we went down to Roundrock last Saturday, at the very top of our list of chores was to cut back some of the tree branches that are growing into the road. We have to do this periodically, and the way stays open for a few years, but then some opportunistic branches find that there is plenty of open space and access to sunlight there, so they grow back vigorously, reaching into the road and slapping the Prolechariot as we pass. We have about a quarter mile of road where we need to do this, so there’s always some section that needs attention. (Right now pretty much the whole thing needs attention.)
But with the heat index at 104º we decided to see how the lake looked from the comfy chairs first. It looked very nice, if you want to know the truth. As we watched, Libby’s turtle friend made a couple of appearances, surfacing to look around for a few minutes before diving and staying under for about twenty minutes. The turtle has been living in the lake for at least five years now, and we’re always heartened in the spring when it makes its first appearance. As we sat there we also found that the avenue cleared of trees near the shelter tarp was doing what we hoped, directing a nearly constant breeze over us. Nice.
There is a nasty old, raggedy Blackjack oak standing near the shelter tarp, and I’ve been worried that if it ever fell, or even dropped some big limbs, it would crash down on the tarp and damage it. I decided, therefore, to be proactive and cut down the offending tree before it could do any damage. I made my wedge cut to direct the falling tree in the right direction, where there was plenty of open space and no shelter tarp. Then I made the back cut and the tree fell — directly on the shelter tarp! Fortunately, it didn’t tear the fabric of the tarp, and after a few judicious cuts, we had the nasty old, raggedy Blackjack oak off the tarp and in an unloved pile nearby. After this, we snugged up all of the ropes holding the shelter tarp together, and it was as good as new, providing welcome shade in the blistering Ozark heat.
I was a bit disheartened though. That went exactly wrong, and we decided we needed a bit of cheering.
There is a new cafe in the little town by Roundrock, and we decided to go there for lunch and patronize the local business. The town needs some love, and we wanted to do our part. So we climbed in the truck and drove the ten miles or so to town, only to find that the cafe was not open on Saturdays. In fact, it didn’t appear that anything in town was open on Saturday. The streets were deserted; there weren’t even any cars or trucks parked at the curb around the square. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a tumbleweed roll down the street.
This proved to be only a temporary set back. About ten miles down the road is a crossroads hamlet with a restaurant famous in that corner of the state for its pies. We felt it was our duty to stimulate the local economy, so we pointed the truck in that direction and drove until we got there. The food was fine, and the place was busy with families. The pie (actually, we had strawberry-rhubarb cobbler) was yummy, but the soft serve ice cream on top melted too fast!
On our way back to Roundrock we stopped at a farmer’s market in the barn of a nearby orchard. You can never have enuf fresh vegetables, so we bought a bit (tomatoes and sweet corn), then got in the truck and returned to our woods.
Goodness it was hot! We decided the time had come for us to cool off and swim in the warm, welcoming lake, which hadn’t lost much water in the week since we’d been there. We put all of our tools away in the truck and drove down near the dam. Then we changed into our swimming togs and walked to the water. I went in first since there was some algae growing in the water that Libby wanted me to clear by walking through it. Being a gentleman, I did this. The water was warm. Quite warm. Warmer than when we had swum in it the week before. There was cooler water far below, and sometimes when we kicked, the cooler water would swirl up, but it certainly didn’t feel cold. We paddled about and floated for two wonderful hours in that lake of ours. What a treat! The dragonflies zipped overhead. Clouds tumbled across the blue sky. Turkey vultures turned far above us. Every now and then Libby’s turtle friend would pop its head out of the water to study us. We watched a pair of hummingbirds working the flowers on the dam. All was right with the world and the two hours passed too quickly.
Back on land, after getting accustomed to gravity again, we slipped into dry clothes, stowed the last of our gear, jumped in the truck, and drove home.
We never did get around to cutting those branches along the road.
- Perseid meteor shower peaks; moon interferes.